Making Plans & Changing Them
I love schedules, lists, and plans—really anything that has order and specific timing. Structure keeps me going, and even on days when I don’t have a lot of work, I enjoy planning my leisure time. Unfortunately, this love of excessive scheduling has its detriments: sometimes I become stuck in my schedule, leaving me inflexible and afraid of change. When I don’t have a plan, I feel anxious. ‘Not having a plan’ sums up the last ≈1035 hours of my life. However, in the last couple of days, I have started to find my footing in terms of figuring out what I want from the next four years of my life…kind of.
In the fifth grade, I desperately wanted to be a special needs teacher, working exclusively with autistic children. In seventh grade, I decided that while I still wanted to be a special needs teacher, I would work with both physically and mentally disabled children. In ninth grade, I wanted to be a doctor, but then changed my mind in tenth grade when I heard getting into medical school involves excessive chemistry and physics. After watching this fabulous documentary about Bulgaria’s ‘abandoned children’, I felt a strong desire to travel overseas and work to rescue underfunded institutions. By the end of high school, I decided that the path of abnormal psychology was the one I would choose. Now I am reconsidering that as well.
I spent most of my childhood believing that there were “math and science people” and “english, art, and social studies people.” I was always an english/art/S.S. person, and I felt comfortable under that label. As I got older, I learned that the space between the two extremes was more of a spectrum, and that one could be a math and art person, or a science and english person, or just a social studies person. The clear cut distinction I used to abide by no longer applied, both to those around me and to myself. Upon entering high school, I discovered that my issues with science stemmed from a lack of courage, not from a complete lack of ability.
Now I am in college facing one of the biggest decisions of the next four years: a major. I don’t officially have to declare a major until the end of sophomore year, but I like to have an idea of where I am headed. On Wednesday, I went to the Majors Fair in the hopes of gathering some information to help me make a decision. The biology table called to me: I love biology but have always been wary of the chemistry requirement. Upon meeting and talking to the (super awesome) department representatives, some of my fears were quelled. I entered college with the aspiration of a psych. major, so none of my classes this semester help towards a biology-based track. I expressed this concern and was immediately assured that it wasn’t too late to change paths. I started thinking about it, and biology began to make a lot of sense.
Making plans is good, but changing them is okay, too. A huge component of college is exercising one’s ability to make decisions. Some are easy, like whether to walk to CVS on Saturday or Sunday, but most are more difficult, like choosing a major. The ability to choose must come with the flexibility to not become stuck in something just because you are afraid of taking a few steps back in order to move forward, something I am still in the process of becoming comfortable with.